It was 15 years ago today…

Lt.-Col. Hugo Chavez, 37, commander of the paratroop brigade at Maracay, Venezuela, gives himself up after a failed attempt to topple a corrupt, abusive president who alienated a large swath of the army on the day he turned it against his own people. In this (surely the shortest speech of his career!), Chavez takes a minute to address the media, thank his compatriots for their bravery and unselfishness, and take responsibility for the coup attempt. He regrets that “for now”, the plans he and his fellow Bolivarian revolutionaries made cannot be realized, and holds out hope that at a later date, new opportunities may arise.

As we’ve seen, that “por ahora” was prophetic indeed. Chavez is now president, and the most popular and successful president in Venezuelan history, at that. And far from being condemned, this 15-year-old day is widely celebrated in Venezuela–at least by those who understand the difference between fake democracy and the real thing.

And just to put it all in context:

“Venezuela Bolivariana” in its entirety, with English subtitles.

Pay special attention to the parts about the Caracazo, the Bolivarian military uprising, the new constitution, and the 49 laws passed under the Ley Habilitante, the same “enabling law” that’s causing such a stir right now as more people-powered reforms are slated to commence. Notice that it’s only the rich business class, the former ruling class, that objects to it! Interesting that Dubya, who’s currently trying to “fast-track” his own legislation over the objections of Congress and the people, should pick on Chavez for this. (John Negroponte, the #1 antidemocratic export to Latin America, echoes it; the media parrots it all unquestioningly.) Even more interesting that the effect of Chavecito’s legislation in Venezuela will ultimately be the exact opposite of what Dubya is forever trying to do in the US. Most interesting of all is that the Venezuelan people–and now the Venezuelan national assembly, too–have specifically granted Chavez a democratic mandate to do this.

So we can see that this documentary, shot in 2003-4, gives us a view of the beginnings of a process which is very much a work in progress–but which is now living up to what the many people in it are saying it should do.


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One Response to It was 15 years ago today…

  1. Dana says:

    Our Chavecito has come full circle and out on top as usual!
    Thanks for posting this Bina!

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